By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Once again the Bluefield State College Big Blues were “Oh so close,” in snapping its 31 game losing streak. With just over a minute left to play State trailed Charleston by three and had the ball only to see the Golden Eagles pull away and claim a 81-71 WVIAC win Thursday night at Ned Shott Gymnasium.
Bluefield State hung tight early. A three-point play by Vincent Rogers knotted the game in the early minutes at five. Ray Cooper, playing in his first game of the season, later dropped in a long three from the top of the key to tie the game at 15.
The Big Blues took the lead and were up by five at the media timeout with 13 minutes to play in the first half.
Charleston stormed back. Three straight BSC turnovers and UC buckets put the visitors ahead by three.
Joseph Dawkins, however, but BSC back ahead when he made a long three from the wing.
Tied at 36 with just under two minutes remaining before halftime, Charleston’s Evan Faulkner scored two baskets to help the Golden Eagles hold a 42-38 halftime lead.
UC extended its lead to seven points in the first two minutes of the second half before Cooper drilled another three.
Dawkins they canned another trey and Davin Morris made a steal and layup to put Bluefield State back on top 52-48.
Charleston went on a 7-0 run to go back ahead 55-52 with 13:10 to play in the game.
Bluefield State pulled even again when Deterrence Norwood made a three ball, only to see Charleston roll out to a six point lead.
The Golden Eagles then went to a tightly packed zone defense, forcing BSC to shoot from the perimeter.
Trying to get the ball inside to Rogers, UC made several steals and scored in transition to push its lead to 10 points, 72-62 with 4:23 left to play.
Not giving up the Big Blues again charged back, cutting the lead to five, and later to three on Rogers’ basket in the paint with 1:08 remaining.
State would get no closer as they fouled and sent Charleston to the free throw line where the final margin of victory increased to 10 points.
Rogers topped the Big Blues’ scoring column with 19 points. He added five rebounds and a steal. Cooper followed with 18, including four three point goals, five boards, three assists, a block and a steal.
Dawkins tallied 16 points, with five threes, dished out four assists and had two steals.
For the game Bluefield State sank 10 three point shots and Charleston made six.
Terrell Lipkins led the Golden Eagles with 20 points and Faulkner followed closely with 18.
Lipkins had 10 assists and eight rebounds and played all 40 minutes of the game.
Both teams shot 41 percent from the field for the game. For BSC Rogers made 7-of-11 from the field and Cooper made six of his 12 shots from the field.
Overall Bluefield State was 25-of-60 including 10-of-26 from behind the three point arc. Charleston was 30-of-70 and 6-for-20 from three point territory.
Both teams missed four free throws, Charleston connected on 15-of-19, while Bluefield State made 11-of-15.
Treon Claiborne had a game-high 13 rebounds, 10 of them on the defensive boards to lead the Big Blues, who won the rebounding battle 43-41. However, Charleston out-rebounded the Big Blues on the offensive glass 21-18.
Charleston blocked five shots, the Big Blues one.
Bluefield State, 0-12 overall, 0-8 in conference play. Charleston improved to 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the WVIAC.
The Big Blues host Seton Hill, Saturday at 4 p.m.